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27 members of South Sudan president’s staff contract Covid-19

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At least 27 administrators in South Sudan’s Office of the President have contracted Covid-19, the presidency confirmed.

South Sudan’s Presidential Press Secretary Ateny Wek Ateny confirmed to Kenya’s daily, The East African that those affected include cooks, drivers and bodyguards.

“The number has increased. Many officials tested positive for Covid-19. There are a few junior staff that contracted the virus. Senior staff that tested positive for the virus include policy analyst Madut Majok and me. We are all healthy and quarantining as recommended by World Health Organization,” Ateny told the East African.

“The President didn’t contract Covid-19. He is healthy and he has been at work since the rumors emerged. However, the President has been working at home as a precautionary measure after many of us contracted the virus,” Ateny added.

Ateny further confirmed President Salva Kiir has not contracted the virus.

Ateny is also among the 27 who have tested positive for the virus and is undergoing quarantine.

South Sudan will conduct the second phase of testing among the State House staff and will involve two cabinet ministers and a presidential adviser.

South Sudan’s first vice president, and former rebel leader Riek Machar, and wife Defence Minister Angelina Ten, had tested positive for the novel coronavirus last year May.

The country continues to be gripped by humanitarian emergency and hunger, even after Machar and President Salva Kiir, the main rivals in the civil war formed a unity government in February.

The two men remain deadlocked on key issues such as the control of regional states.